Thrasher Suit from Batman // Cosplayer : Spicy Panda Creations
I usually try to pick a theme for the group of friends that I cosplay with and build for. I then suggest characters that I believe will work well for their physical attributes (height, body shape, glasses, wheelchairs, etc.) and their comfort levels (make-up, wigs, armor vs fabric, etc). In regards to the Thrasher suit, my friends and I agreed to cosplay a Batman themed group. My 6’5″ friend was intrigued that he could be even taller if I placed him on elevated platforms for the cosplay. I knew that his sheer size would be a “wow” factor at the convention. He agreed and the rest is history.
Many guests were in awe of the sheer size of the suit. Once completed, the suit was over 7 feet tall. It was great to see the crowd part like an ocean as this behemoth trudged through the convention. I think the interesting stories about this suit involved brainstorming how to safely maneuver through the convention. The suit is so big that it does not allow for the cosplayer to see where they are directly stepping. This factor added an extra element of safety as we did not want to crush any little children who wanted to take pictures next to the suit.
Several years prior to the creation of the Thrasher suit, my cosplay friends and I created the entire “Big Hero 6” cast. I wanted to give new life to the retired Baymax costume, so the task was to refurbish the existing suit into the new Thrasher suit. The biggest challenge was that I had to completely deconstruct and alter all the pieces of the Baymax suit without damaging the foundation of the suit. Armed with my heat gun, Exacto knives, and glue gun, I had to carefully reopen seams, create new cuts, and glue in new pieces. Since most of the foundation was intact, I mainly had to create the details of the new suit. Some other challenges included finding a way for the cosplayer to see while still maintaining the suit’s size. I eventually created a new helmet that allows the cosplayer to see out of the mouth of the helmet. Additionally, I think the sheer size of the suit made the build quite labor-intensive. Not only did I have to rebuild the suit, but then I had to texturize the entire suit with a Dremel bit, and then commence with prepping, painting, and joining all the pieces together.
I have been artistic my entire life and thought that participating in cosplay would be a great way to put those skills to use. So after attending the 2010 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) for the first time, I agreed to create costumes for my friends and myself the following year. My first cosplay was dressing up as the Red Hood from Batman. Despite being hot and uncomfortable throughout the entire day, it was a surreal experience and I have been hooked ever since.
Cosplay has taught me to look at miscellaneous objects with a different perspective. Now I find random things and wonder how I can incorporate them into my next build. I have learned new technical skills such as air brushing, sculpting, and turning 2D sketches into 3D models. Cosplay has also allowed me to flex my creative skills and has helped me to develop my personal standard of craftsmanship. More so, it has brought more patience, perseverance, commitment, and passion to my life. In addition to leveling up my artistic skills, cosplay has really highlighted my social needs. While I like building things, I equally enjoy being with people – whether it is creating multiple costumes with several people in a cramped apartment, posing with fellow cosplayers for a group picture, or grabbing food after the convention.
Within the cosplay aspect of my life, my greatest struggle is trying to stay motivated and creative in the middle of a global pandemic. It is difficult to find the motivation to build when conventions are cancelled and when building supplies are difficult to acquire. I am also experiencing some stunted creativity as there is a lack of outside stimulation. Lastly, it is challenging to stay fit and healthy as there is a bit too much access to our refrigerator and not enough to a gym and healthy food at this time.
I encourage everyone to challenge themselves and push past their boundaries. You are just as capable as those before you, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Be humble and forgiving to yourself in your learning, and be patient and giving to those who will one day ask for your help. Use the skills you develop and acquire to help bring about a better tomorrow for future generations of artists, cosplayers, and people. Thank you.